One of my goals for my staycation was to complete another 12" X 12" cameo portrait. The house is a symbol for the psyche or the soul, so each of my paintings are a reflection of the person who commissioned it.This really makes them delightfully unique as I try to capture favorite symbols of that person. You will notice that all my houses have chicken feet--if you are interested in commissioning me to do a painting for you, I will tell you the rest of the story. Here is "West Coast Swing."
For where your treasure is, there also will your heart be.—Luke 12:34
It was reported that gold coins from a sunken Spanish ship were recently found in the waters off the coast of Florida using a simple metal detector. You can imagine that this attracted quite a few more “golddiggers.” Should your heart be consumed in the acquiring of a vanishing kingdom when you have an eternal kingdom waiting for you? I would love to see a mad dash for the inexhaustible treasure that the Lord provides.
What would that look like?
People would discover the blessing to be found in relationships with the poor and disadvantaged. They would discover their own hearts to be made in the image of God and experience selfless love flowing through their own being.
People would be clamoring to study the Bible in order to discover for themselves a love story working through human history, through the faults and attributes of very human lives, lives with aspirations just like ours.
People would be finding the time to make silence in their lives a priority in order to hear God’s wisdom and discover God-given virtues and gifts of holiness, humility, faith, self-control, spiritual discernment, justice and strength.
People would be laughing more and worrying less.
People would see the world as God sees the world and be moved to act with compassion against injustices. Our consciences would no longer be numbed by acceptance of things as they are.
In this Year of Faith, there is so much to be discovered about our God who is waiting to give us so many gifts. Fr. Richard Rohr and Joseph Martos write in The Great Themes of Scripture (O.T.—St. Anthony Messenger, 1988) that grace is “God giving us Himself. . .a perfect and whole experience of being loved. . freely and spontaneously, generously and continuously. . .All we have to do is be open to it, receive it, trust it and treasure it.”
It is the best treasure hunt this world has to offer.
(first published in my Justice Bulletin Board column 8/11/2013)
Teach us to number our days aright, that we may gain wisdom of heart.—Psalm 90:12
I find myself pondering the meaning of the phrase, “wisdom of heart.” When I was younger, I often tended to make decisions based on head knowledge and concurrently, did not always trust what I felt in my heart. Back then, I didn’t know the words of Proverbs 2:10, “For wisdom will enter your heart, knowledge will please your soul.” I wondered what the expression would have meant to the ancient psalmist as well as more recent theologians.
Ancient Egyptian and Hebrew thinking intertwine on this matter. Egyptians believed that the heart was the source of human wisdom, as well as the source of emotions, memory, the soul and the personality itself. It was through the heart that God spoke, giving ancient Egyptians knowledge of God and God's will. The ancient Hebrews also saw the heart as the seat of emotion and as the seat of thought. The Hebrew word for heart, lev, means “authority within.”
St. Ignatius of Loyola gave voice to a method of discernment when making decisions that relies heavily on listening to what your heart is saying. As David L. Fleming, SJ, writes in, What Is Ignatian Spirituality?: “We make our decisions within the context of this relationship of love. It is a relationship of the heart. Our heart will tell us which decisions will bring us closer to Jesus and which will take us away from him”. . . “Confirmation comes not from the reasoning intellect but through a discernment of the meaning of the different movements of the emotions and feelings. This is Ignatius’s greatest gift to us about decision making. It may be called the gift of the reasoning heart.” www.ignatianspirituality.com
As Blessed John Paul II most eloquently states, It is Jesus “who reads in your heart your most genuine choices, the choices that others try to stifle. It is Jesus who stirs in you the desire to do something great with your lives, the will to follow an ideal, the refusal to allow yourselves to be ground down by mediocrity, the courage to commit yourselves humbly and patiently to improving yourselves and society, making the world more human and more fraternal.” (15th World Youth Day 8/19/2000)
Charity and justice are already written on our hearts, we just have to be wise enough to discern them. The next time you have to decide on an action, practice wisdom of heart and join our work at email@example.com
(first published in my Justice Bulletin Board column 8/4/2013)
Hoping all the moms, grandmoms, great grandmoms, and spiritual moms had a wonderful Mother's Day! Thanks to my family for a beautiful day.
Do you know what the theme is of Michaelangelo's Sistine Chapel ceiling as told through the paintings of the ancestors? MOTHERHOOD!
And do you know what painting is at the center of the ceiling? If you guessed the creation of Adam, you guessed wrong. The painting at the center of the ceiling is Eve rising from Adam's side. Eve, the progenitor of Mary, Mother of the Church.
And now you know the rest of the story.--Nonna's Knowings
Savor this day, and the fifty days of Easter Time! Easter eggs have been a customary sign of new life in many times and places. I give you the following story as a gift for you and your family to ponder during this Alleluia Time. It is a folktale from Africa and, as in all folktales, it tells each of us a little bit about ourselves. It’s called “The Hen and the Crocodile.”
Once there was a hen who lived on the edge of the forest. She wanted to be a mother and to have chicks, but every time she laid eggs and tried to hatch them, the civet cat would sneak out of the forest and eat the eggs. The hen was no match for the civet cat. One day she went down to the banks of the river where the crocodile was napping on a sandbar. The hen nudged the crocodile and said, “Brother Crocodile, you must help me. The civet cat keeps attacking my nest and stealing my eggs. You are my brother and I need your help!”
The crocodile slowly opened one eye and said, “Leave me alone. Can’t you see I’m trying to take a nap? Besides I am NOT your brother, and I am busy. Go away.” He closed his eye again, and tried to fall back to sleep.
The hen replied, “But you are my brother, and relatives are supposed to help each other. You must help me.”
The crocodile was getting angry and said, “Listen, Hen, I am not your brother and I don’t have to help you. To settle this once and for all, let’s go to the chief of the village, and he’ll tell you that we are not relatives.” So the two of them went to see the chief of the village. The chief asked them what the trouble was.
The crocodile spoke up first and said, “Chief, I was just sleeping on the sandbar, minding my own business, when this hen comes and wakes me up and starts telling me that I have to come help her protect her nest from the civet cat who keeps stealing her eggs. She said that since I was her brother, I should help her. Now chief, how can we be related? How can I be the hen’s brother? Just look at us, I have a big mouth with lots of sharp teeth, and she has a beak. I have scales, and she has feathers. We don’t look anything alike. How can I be her brother?”
The Chief thought a minute and said, “That makes sense to me. You certainly don’t look anything alike. What do you have to say about this, Hen?”
The hen said, “Chief, I would like to ask the crocodile just one question. She turned to him and said, “Brother Crocodile, who is your mother?”
The crocodile replied, “I never knew my mother. I came from an egg.”
The hen said, “So did I. . .Brother.”
(first published in the Justice Bulletin Board Easter C 3/31/2013)